At 8:35am on August 27, 2018, I boarded a plane bound for Lima in Peru, with stops in Prague, Barcelona and Madrid. The 30 hour journey is being as tiring as expected, especially its 12 hours long last leg.
The departure marked the end of my 4 months long stay in Slovakia, the country smack in the middle of Europe. The arguably short, but rich in experiences stay changed me forever.
Slovakia, in many ways, changed how I view and understand life, the universe, relationships and many aspects of life. It was profoundly deep, and introduced me to the spiritual part of myself I never knew existed. The people I met in Slovakia were some of the most aware of all the world, nevermind the fact that the girls are some of the most beautiful too.
Perhaps the highlight of my experience was the visit to a pyramid in Eastern Slovakia, with a mining shaft within which there is the highest density of healing negative ions per cubic centimeter in the world.
But it was indeed my second time in the pyramid, when I met one of its original discoverers, that opened up my eyes to the deeper meanings of life, and set me off on the journey to self discovery that was to trample everything I’ve known before.
And now I find myself counting miles on my way toward Peru, fully aware that this time it’s different. I’m still the same round the world traveler. Still a permanent nomad. But this time the journey is far less about discovering new places and far more about discovering myself. The priority will be my physical and mental growth and wellbeing, with destinations as well as lengths of stay chosen according to how well they can assist in the goals.
Thank you for everything, Slovakia. Peru, here I come!
I went to live in a recluse because my heart could not take any more falsehood, duplicity, hypocrisy, corruption, malice, cruelty, egotism, narcissism, greed, hostility, delinquency and dishonesty. I desired purity, righteousness, compassion, kindness, hospitality, integrity, uprightness and respect. Because I could not find any of the latter without prevalence of the former among humans, I left to live where the latter reigns.
So one day, without much planning or preparing, without consulting with anyone or seeking permission, I left and stayed gone, unaccounted for to everyone but God. I lived face to face with myself, depriving all living men from a chance to disturb me. I gave and was given, for in a company of Mother Nature, sharing is unconditional.
This extraordinary undertaking has taught me many things. Things about myself, about my soul, about self-reliance, about poverty, about silence, about my back country and about the downsides of living in a non hunter/gatherer society. Let me reflect on my experiences and share some of the knowledge acquired with you. I will explain in a little more detail what life as a recluse has taught me in next several posts. Click on the NEXT button at the top to browse through it.
I started playing with an idea of living like a hermit shortly after I’ve reached an advanced stage of spiritual freedom. I longed for a full on hermit experience – to withdraw entirely from the society and move into the wilderness where I would live completely alone, in complete solitude with nothing but my two bare hands. Surrounded by silence and undisturbed by the messiness of the outside world, I looked to the hermit experience as a means into a deeper sense of my own self.
In my case, there were a few additional reasons that drew me towards the hermit experience. For one I wanted to see what I’m really capable of and whether I’m really as tough as I’d like to think I am, but I also wanted to get a taste of what it’s like surviving with absolutely nothing. And when I say “absolutely nothing”, I very much mean “absolutely nothing”.
You can’t truly understand poverty, unless you have absolutely nothing. You can’t truly understand loneliness unless you are completely alone. But most of all – you can’t truly understand what you’re really capable of, unless you have to do it all on your own, with no chance of anyone offering a helping hand or advice.
There was also this fact that many great spiritual leaders went through the hermit experience before reaching their apex as spiritual leaders. Buddha did it, Jesus Christ did it, Moses did it, Prophet Muhammad did it… you can go quite a ways back to understand what profound impact withdrawal from society and return to the simple life had on some of the greatest names from the past.
If these great spiritual leaders did it and considered it one of the most important stepping stones on their path to greatness, it was only a question of time before a desire to enhance my personal growth by seeking simple life and withdrawal from society popped into my mind. It was a natural progression of the things to come.
We all search for the unknowable – whether knowingly or unknowingly – we all pace the same universal path to the bottom of our hearts, where we hope to find the answers. But as the demands of our daily lives increase, the touch with our otherwise abundant inner nature gets lost and the quest for the answers returns zero results.
My first run at living in solitude exposed me to a different, much truer and more satisfying me. Perhaps it was the silence so deafening I could hear my every heartbeat echo through the woods, perhaps it was the closeness with nature and all of her creatures who embraced me as one of their own, perhaps it was the stars I could see so brightly and distinctly I felt like I’m flying through space, or perhaps it was all of it together that returned me to my original, unadulterated state in which I reconnected with the vital forces of life and creation and experienced feeling of time that expanded to its relaxed abundance, affording me the most gratifyingly ample feeling that there was nothing more I needed to do than just sit and appreciate the beauty of nature and life within it as it was presenting itself to me at that very moment.
The Hermit Experience
I don’t have talent for writing so I’ll just quote Henry David Thoreau because it simply cannot be said any better (you may have heard this quote if you saw the movie Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams):
I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life… to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
I went into the wilderness for 3 months without telling anyone. I carefully picked a very remote lake in Northern Alberta and completely disappeared without a trace. I packed my netbook and camera along but didn’t have a solar charger so their power only lasted for initial few days. Learning to slow down was single most difficult part which I’m gonna have to continue working on as I still haven’t mastered it. I returned back solely to clear the path for my next, longer stay away from the consumer society.
I didn’t ask for permission, I didn’t waste time trying to explain to anyone why I needed to do it – I simply did it. To my surprise, after I came clean with my parents, they weren’t mad. Not even after I told them that this was just a warm up and that I will go back after I’ve taken care of a few legal and moral obligations my citizenship requires of me. My dad’s response was that I involved myself in more than too many crazy adventures in the past and many worked out for me, so there was little to raise concern that I’d have any difficulty pulling this one through just as successfully.
There was simply no argument my parents could make to counter my intention to leave behind this insane money-chasing, going-nowhere life in a pretentious and superficial world where I was along with other zombies naught more than a living dead in a scheme laid up by power-tripping war lords.
My mom’s illogically baseless statement that life in the wilderness could be dangerous was the easiest to counter. I mean, how could life away from drug dealers, rapists, murderers, drunk drivers and other human filth be dangerous? Potential dangers lurk around anywhere you go, but in general terms, it doesn’t get any safer than when you are away from people.
My parents are deeply religious so their main disappointment with me is that I don’t go to church like they had taught me to, but if I were to acknowledge the existence of God, I wouldn’t expect to find him in the filth of the greed-fuelled war machine. I’d look for him in rivers that flow through land, in animals that tread its soil, in rocks that crown proud mountain tops. I’d look for him in flowers that add fragrance to the meadows, in pine needles that soften up the mountain floors, in drops of mist that glide lazily through the shades of endless forests. God is Earth and whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the sons of Earth. We are all Sons of Earth.
My philosophy is kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water. I want to embrace a slow living lifestyle which would allow me to serve the Earth and appreciate her beauty. I want to live in rhythm with nature and her seasons for they each are beautiful in their own individualistic way. I want to take time out to watch clouds glade over the moon, sunrise outline the shape of the mountains and thunderstorm light up the northern sky.
At my first run at living alone in the wilderness, I lived like a hermit. Because I don’t live in a hunter/gatherer society and my country has enforceable laws I as its citizen am subjected to, I’m presently taking care of my obligations so I can return to the wilderness and stay there for a long time. But this time around I won’t live like a hermit, I will live as one.
I consider my trip to Cuba in December 2008 to be the beginning of my transformation as an individual. Since then, I have seen myself grow to heights not seen by many yet what I’m proud of the most is how much I have grown on a spiritual level. There are many people who like me, escaped the rat race and tore themselves away from the shackles of corporate slavery but that’s where their personal growth stopped. Don’t get me wrong – escaping a cage is an important first step as cage keeps physical body so preoccupied, it’s hard to put enough focus on spiritual growth. But what good is walking a free man going to do to you if your mind is still enslaved?
There are hardly any people alive today who would understand how much real power and enlightenment one collects on the way to real spiritual growth. On my travels, the type of people I seek the most are elders of native tribes for there is a great deal of wisdom behind every day of their lives and that type of knowledge cannot be gotten from books. Sadly, people of real wisdom are exceedingly difficult to find these days as money crept into their lives and with it came corruption of minds.
On my travels, I’m the only one who seeks out wisdom. I see so many people around, who like me escaped the rat race, but they travel to be able to make their Facebook friends jealous. That’s all they care about, that’s all they ever have on their minds. One day, when they’re of age and a new generation of rat race escapists takes their turn traveling around the world, none will seek them out to share their wisdom for there is no wisdom to be found in minds that are enslaved and don’t even know it.
It goes without saying that I was just as excited as the next guy when I quit work to travel. I honestly thought this was it, I thought achieving this was my ultimate success in life. And in all fairness, a huge success it had been. Luckily, though, all it took were a few months of my brand new life before I realized that my new found freedom was just the beginning.
Real freedom is not partial. Being free from rat race, but enslaved to gadgets, the internet and money is like pulling one’s head up from underground and thinking the grass you are seeing for the first time in your life is whole world at your feet. It sure is exciting being able to see all this grass and touch it with your bare hands, but if you let pride of making it to the surface blind you, you’ll fail to see all that lays further afield. For you to see that, you’d have to keep sticking your head further and further up.
Compared to the multitude of difficult and challenging steps one needs to take in order to free their mind, an escape from corporate slavery which frees one’s body is as easy as farting in water. Yet albeit hard core, overcoming these challenges is very enlightening and empowering. It is a long and windy road with many roadblocks along the way, but you’ll experience spiritual growth with each single step forward. And what does experiencing spiritual growth feels like, you ask? Well, it feels like having a super orgasm you’re not faking.